Nerves of bad losers

The Guardian’s article  on the West Indies’s victory over the England to hoist the T-20 cricket cup really pisses me off. Nay, no cliché description, it speaks to me of journalist’s bias which obviously is not hidden in that article written from a red and blue ‘loyalist’ perspective. Would a West Indian have written a similar article about our defeat?

The article said: “England were forced to defend a total (155 for nine) that Eoin Morgan described as 40 runs short.”

Is it that the boys from the colonies were playing the masters? I ask that because the language suggested to me that England controlled the game, their colonies were fielding and bowling so everything was at England’s command.

If that wasn’t the tone why was there no credit or even a negative comment about the quality of bowling or fielding? The Englishmen were playing with themselves?

Now compare this remark chosen from Morgan’s interview.  “… we did extremely well with the ball. At no stage did the West Indies get anywhere near where they wanted.”

So they resisted us, huh… let’s move on.

Then this!  England defended that  ‘40-run-short total’  “so tenaciously that, when Ben Stokes ran in to bowl the last over, West Indies needed 19 runs to win.” Boy, England is the bosses and the WI are the horses waiting until they pull their reins or slip at pulling it? Cha man!!

So after all the apologetic and sympathetic language on one side what did the article say about the West Indies. Who … West Indies? Nay, let’s turn on Marlon Samuels, how dare him to feel hurt or angry about sledging?

“Samuels … was not in a mood to bury any hatchets or walk off graciously … he did not have much sympathy for Stokes.”  Stokes’ mouth ‘din have no cover’ when he was talking trash so why is it Samuels, who is taunted by …; badmouthed by Warne; and is part of a team castigated as lacking brains and so on,  expected to have the self-control of Jesus. It would have be great if he did, but Samuels is fallible man.

He said: “I’ve never disrespected him (Warne). I don’t appreciate the way that he continues to talk about me.” Samuels is obviously deeply hurt. So why no palliative words for Samuels amid sympathies for Stokes? They were both hurt and bruised. An injury is felt whether you are on the winning team or losing one. Victory is not a painkiller.

Now what did the article say about the captains. Here we go: “Morgan himself was surprisingly calm…” Which losing captain, have you ever seen jumping up? So there you go, contrasts are obviously discriminatory, rooted in … I don’t know.

Morgan said his team was “terrible” with the bat but he could not fault anything with the ball´”.

What did they pick out for Sammy, the West Indies captain, ageism talk. Many of his players are, “way beyond the wrong side of 30” …

Even the Telegraph’s  more analytical story had its ‘jerk-behaviour elements’ , for example it said; “If this is to be the new direction of West Indies cricket – hired guns, blasting their way round the 20-over circuit – then it will bring some compensation for their loss of influence in the Test arena.” Hired guns! Is Carlos Brathwaite a West Indian player? Why an expression that suggest he’s an extra-regional recruit brought in for this fixture?

That comment was awful spoiling an article whose general tenor wasn’t and ended by announcing that England was “destroyed by brilliance: a quality to which they aspire.”

I had a few days in journalism, so I always peep behind words for true meaning and I know that if the tables were flipped, our professional writers and talkers would have produced volumes of blame articles no verbal antidotes for the sore-muscled players who tried their best.

Opinions would either coincide with or mimic those from the other side. Same result.  I firmly believe that our stance boosts the confidence of those who bad-talk us not only about the game per se but talk that attack our inner psyche.

After Gayle’s recent issue, he got a lot of verbal licks here in the CARICOM region, and rightly so, but I am still listening for the onslaught on those who voice the ‘no brain’ comment and other remarks that toed or slid over the line of racial prejudice and colonial hang-overs.

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Grasping for CARICOM flavour

Much has been written about Jamaican immigrant lawyer, Ronald Mason’s articles in which he railed against his country remaining as a member of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM).

Mr. Mason pushed the focus onto the merits and demerits of the CARICOM especially its Single Market and Economy but while I will return to those substantive matters in coming posts, I feel compel to look at a matter, brought up by Mr. Mason which has attracted passing comment but not given significance given the weight of the others he’d exposed.

That matter is name-calling, stereotyping and labelling.  As black people, we protest public stereotyping and labelling such as Anne Coulter’s comments: “Aw come on people, a black woman flying a plane? You know she got that job through affirmative action.  … Oh come on don’t be coy. I know you’re all thinking it! I just have the courage to say what everyone on this plane is thinking. Am I right?”

As I read that with Mr. Mason’s comments lurking in the background, I couldn’t help but ask is Mr. Mason courageous and right?

In the relevant segment of his “Kick CARICOM to the Kerb” part one, Mason reminded me of a “good ole-fashioned cuss-out” among

Caricom-Flag

Caricom-Flag (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

neighbours so I sensed his despair and frustration with Jamaica’s remaining ‘tight’ with its CARICOM neighbours … “the peoples who populate those islands 1,000 miles away,” and were not playing fair in the relationship.

Mason’s fumed about what he termed Trinidadians’ over-bearing, suffocating attitude and Bajans’ bombastic self-importance; but are those attitudes well-established and broad-based among those nationals that we can hail them deep-seated cultural traits? Do we ( I am a Bajan) as a matter of course extended such behaviour to our CARICOM brothers and sisters?

Unlike Mason, who said he had a “period of enforced residence with some of them at a particular North American university and … in Jamaica”, I have been educated at the University of the West Indies and as such experienced two rewarding and challenging periods immersed in a potpourri of Caribbean culture. We mixed, mingled, argued and shared during formal class, study groups and national weeks (where national organisations celebrated and showed-off their culture – food, dance, music national dress etc.).

Obviously, people also grouped in familiar bunches, based on alma mater, parishes and country of origin but we had our regional mixing and at times we shared with a national from another country that which we did not share with our hometown friends. We took them to our houses on special occasions when they were away from their homes and families. We kick off our shoes at their apartments near campus. It was personal thing not a country-related one.

As mixed nationality groups, we enjoyed our friendships and yes, we sometimes fell out when bombastic, pompous, over-bearing and selfish attitudes got in the way. Those de-friended were Bajans, ‘Lucians’, Grenadians, Vincies, Jamaicans, Trinidadians, and so on. We also forgave each other and were tighter than before or were merely civil but we learned to respect and appreciate each other. It was and is a human thing not a national thing.

We argued over country differences related to all aspects of our culture (food, sports, dance-moves) as well as matters, including immigration and trade that is be-devilling our road to unity. We didn’t solve those issues but we recognised that we were making a difference through our interaction with each other; we continue to show and spread the benefits of our togetherness.

Many of us still ‘shout out” each other on Facebook, Skype or the traditional telephone; we follow each other progress and call one another with an urgent ‘must-do-now” favour knowing that years have passed but the kindness and love live on and will guarantee a positive response.

We’d teased Trinis about carrying the label of insatiable ‘party-lovers’ but we knew many who said ‘no’ to a good fete and instead opt to burn the midnight oil beating some books. We’d laughed with Jamaicans about being stereotyped as aggressive but argued passionately and in consonance that this label was fitted by white man’s history that painted the Maroons and the Caribs with an in-appropriate brush.  Instead we admired the Jamaicans’ creativity, their sense of adventure and will-power to overcome obstacles.

My lists could’ve be longer, but I think the picture has emerged that we learnt that people were individuals not items boxed and labelled by stereotypes. But I could’ve sharpen the focus of the picture by telling you of the many inter-Caribbean national couplings and marriages that resulted and then I could’ve  framed it by revealing that the accents of many among us very so influenced and transformed by our interaction that we teased each other about who had a “CARICOM accent”. Such was the experience at UWI.

Let me take it from the UWI plane, less it be seen as merely a student thing. Take my challenge and visit Barbados’ Fairchild Street Bus Terminal where the state-owned buses make their final passenger stop. I’ve nicknamed that meeting place the CSME; accents of all CARICOM flavours abound; CARICOM nationalities, perhaps with the exception of Haitians and Bahamians, eat, drink, argue, watch cricket and ply their wares, there. I’ve never heard any major discord based on nationality, there. Yes, they argue about who should make the West Indies cricket team and cite island biases for some decisions but they cheer and egg-on everyone dressed in the maroon.  Understanding and appreciating each other’s differences while embracing similarities grow unity in these environments.

We need to get our people from standing underneath their individual national flags and stereotyping and name calling others in the region? (Mason isn’t the only one with his type of mantra.) Part of the answer is getting CARICOM nationals to know more about each other; and to experience more of each others’ physical company as we did at UWI and as others are doing there now and at other meeting places.

Mason indirectly noted the “importance of geographic, cultural, interpersonal relationship among people” in building regional unity as he referred to the Eastern Caribbean. “Schooners and ferries bridge the islands in the east. They have a basis for this creature called CARICOM,” he said, a point which was well made and should be taken.

His articles, therefore, heavily underlined the need for greater communication within CARICOM, a point relevant even in this decade of speedy multi-faceted communication tools. In this communication mix, I believe that reasonably-price intra-CARICOM travel and communication is necessary, not only to increase trade amongst us in goods and services but also to improve our inter-personal relationships, which will engender trust, mutual respect and understanding.

Of course, that communication exercise will call into play the stony, thorny issues of immigrant and border officials’ stances as well as the role of LIAT, but we should never fear problems that are our own making. I will return to those matters in posts dedicated solely to them.

Passport_of_Suriname

Passport_of_Suriname (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I believe non-verbal communication is also important and therefore just as I uphold the need for national symbols I long for regional ones.

I crave seeing our CARICOM flag fluttering at many strategic places throughout Barbados and the region. So you will understand why my heart is swelling after reading a recent CARICOM Secretariat advertisement of a CARICOM song competition that will give birth to an official CARICOM song to be played at CARICOM ceremonial occasions, nationally, regionally and internationallyI look forward to singing it was as much vibrancy, ownership and meaning as I do my national anthem or our cricket “Rally around the West Indies.”

Needy and Anxious

Help! Information is needed. Action may be needed!

I shuddered as I read that Haiti is issuing permits for companies to mine gold and copper in their lands. I agree that Haitians need jobs, unemployment is 52 percent; their economy needs stimuli,  but my stomach fell to my toes as the relevant news item darted up at me from my computer screen.

Blame my desire to see Haiti achieve the best or blame the news media, research tools and my inquiring mind which have led me to conclude that in too many mines worldwide, even those of developed countries, security features and general working conditions have been the source of much concern.

Haiti is Third World, plagued with political instability. I use the categorisation, Third World, which I detest on purpose, because it carries all the negative connotations which added to this mining business flicked on my alarm switch.

Poor education and health standards along with the resulting high level of ignorance about critical matters in the mining business among a very hungry poor population offer no comfort to me as I watch from the outside.

My lessons from Walter Rodney’s book, How Europe Underdeveloped Africa, springs painfully to mind as I try to analyse the unfolding events. I know nothing about the investors nor the decision makers at the mining companies and I am not saying that they are bad human beings but I fear. I need to know.

Manise Joseph, 16, looks for gold. People in the village of Lakwev in north-east Haiti have been digging for gold since the 1960s. Photograph: Ben Depp

Manise Joseph, 16, looks for gold. People in the village of Lakwev in north-east Haiti have been digging for gold since the 1960s. Photograph: Ben Depp

Who will be watching out for Haitians employed in the mines?  Who will monitor safety, health and pay conditions; are these people competent and enabled?  Wages are already low with 75 per cent of Haitians earning less than US$2 per day, will the pay fit the tasks?

Who will prevent the exploitation of the country’s resources, including its people? Who will walk away with the lion share of the profits? These are important questions!

The answers are critical considering the enormous issues about the marginal level of the Rule of Law in Haiti which was raised in a United Nation 2010 report .  This Rule of Law, as the report noted not only relates to “the police, corrections and the judiciary.”  (Read carefully and grasp the  direness.)

It (the Rule of law)  is also about land registry, civil registry, building codes and commercial laws; it is about the State’s capacity to collect taxes and to guarantee a certain level of judicial security that can promote investments and job creation, to, ultimately, encourage economic development.

According to the Guardian online newspaper, the companies applying for mining permits were working with little government oversight. We all know that companies are about profits not regulations.  This is a sorry situation ripe for exploitation of man, country, animal and anyone or anything else standing in the way of high profits.

Commenting on this worrisome poor state of monitoring, geologist Dieuseul Anglade, the former director of Haiti’s mining agency, was quoted as saying: “The government doesn’t give us the means to supervise the companies. Most of our budget goes to salaries. We don’t really have an operating budget.”

I added this to Eurasian Minerals president David Cole‘s boast that his company “controls over 1,100 square miles of real estate” and investor Mickey Fulp‘s note that “It is obvious there is substantial geopolitical risk in Haiti, but the geology is just so damn good”; and the result was that my alarm bells reached deafening decibels.  Protection of the environment; ensuring appropriate labour, safety and health standards; and preventing the exploitation of man, animal, and country must be ensured.

Join me in this quest for answers and let us find methods to agitate for the best conditions for Haitians.

Thanks for participating in the poll.

Advertisement: sexist or harmless sales pitch

Every day, I pass several posters advertising dances a.k.a. fetes plastered on walls in public places throughout Barbados and I restrain myself from starting a monologue beginning with “years ago …”  It is not the bright colours or the bold writing that draw persons to examine these posters rather it is the ‘half naked’ women, some bent in the 6:30 position (as in the clock hands) demonstrating the popular dance featured at many fetes.

I recall silently the period when the women’s movement in Barbados agitated for an end to this type of advertisement terming it an exploitation of women. That was before digital technology made production of these advertisements easy as well as accessible to almost everyone. Since then, there has also been a new boldness among people and it seems a quiet women’s movement.

Not much is therefore said about these posters that stand on the brink of the pornography line requiring only a feather touch to push them into the restricted area. In fact, I thought the feminists in this country were ignoring them.  But today I’ve noticed a Facebook entry from Red Code for justice regarding a Bank Breweries Barbados advertisement, which showed a young woman in a suggestive position with a beer in her hand.

Red Code captioned it:

Sexist Caribbean ads: Barbados’ Banks beer rolls out ‘My Brown Ting, My Banks’ ad. Email us at redforgender@gmail.com with any other sexist or racist Caribbean ads you come across. Help us educate Caribbean companies that women aren’t things!

What about the women, don’t they need education as well? Are they devoid of responsibility?? What about the dance ads, I ask myself. Do they differ enough from those of companiesto merit a dissimilar approach? Why campaign against one and not the other? Is it fair to do so?

I was told – not by Red Code – that the issue relates to the term “my brown Ting” rather than dress or pose, since the model is properly clad and the pose is merely artistic and tasteful. Therefore, my friend said, the ads are dissimilar and my questions are based on a false premise. But I still ask, isn’t it the same thought process that fuels the decision to pose in both these scenarios?

Red Code promised “to collect some images from all across the region, write an article and post it on the social media networks.” I look forward to this as it should educate many people as well as help answer some of my questions and give clarity to the central reason for flagging the ad.

I believe many women share Ashantia Howard’s view who in a Facebook comment gave me impression that the Banks ad is insignificant compared with other issues facing women and should be left alone. She suggested that instead of bothering about a beer commercial, Red Code should campaign for real issues affecting women, such as the right to choose and abortion rights. It will be worthy while to see how the promised article will influence opinions such as Howard’s.

Clearly, the female models are not forced into these ads (such as the Bank’s one) and may not get Red Code’s point. I have noticed that while women are photographed wearing the shortest, tightest, most revealing outfits they can squeeze their bodies into, the male models have more of their bodies under cover. So choice plays a big part.

Is the message which gender groups are advocating catching on? Or are they preaching to an inner circle? What do you think? Is it a woman’s choice to pose or not to pose? Why bother a company that like a fete holder/sponsor is trying to sell his product using the best tools available? Tell me!

Related articles:

http://redforgender.wordpress.com/2012/11/06/no-thanks-banks/

This one from Brazil.

http://www.nydailynews.com/entertainment/meet-bumbum-brazil-gears-annual-best-booty-contest-article-1.1171185

Giving Away Money !!!

“If you’re planning to ask, don’t! I am not giving a single cent for any church rebuilding fund and especially an Anglican Church.”

“A recession is on … people are losing their jobs; and you are asking for money? I know you don’t buy newspapers but I was not aware that you had stop reading them. Let me update you. People are looking for housing; families – single women and their children with long water streaming down their cheeks – are featured in the newspapers asking for help so they can move off the streets. The week before last on a cold wet night an elderly woman knocked at a house begging for a corner to lay her head. Her house was burnt months ago. She was still roaming.” My friend was a roll.

DSC00924“So don’t ask me for a donation or to buy a ticket, nothing so. I know that a lightning bolt struck the church, knocking out the bell, ripping out the electricity and destroying the piano. If God wanted to, He would have protected the church; that should tell you all something. Don’t ask me for a cent,” he said.

“Tell me, why repair an edifice for so-called Christians to spend three or four hours every Sunday singing and saying prayers by rote? After that the church is shut tight. You all are shut even tighter, not one action to help the community or to show God’s love but you all walk around acting self-righteous.”

He didn’t stop to catch his breath. Not even a split-second pause, so I could explain the reason for my call. I knew interrupting him would lead to another atheist-versus-God believer’s argument, so I endured his monologue. Soon, I was left in quiet reflection wishing I could tell him what St. Catherine Anglican Church meant to the community, my family and I.

If he had allowed I would have highlighted a tale of community-spiritedness, a story of love for God demonstrated through ensuring that the place earmarked for His worship was kept at a high standard; a standard befitting a King. Today, I reflect on that story starting with the fetching of sand from Crane Beach to build the church; a community joined by that common goal, some 90 years ago.

Many years later, my grandmother, Darkey, Lennie Blades, Mother Griffith, Trudie, Aunt May, Vie Grazette and Wilma Brathwaite voluntarily ensured that the church’s environs and its interior were in pristine condition. Their tangible outpouring of love to the church was common; Mr. Blades constrained by the effects of a stroke cared for the gardens and did much more; Marie Gaskin, Miss Iris, the organist … the list of names is endless. They had more than mouth-talk; we, children learnt from their actions as well as their words.

mommaMy great-grandmother, Momma Garnes sat in the third pew from the top, to the right. With stick lying safely under the knee rest, she answered the call every time the bell rang.  Her refrain was: “What you give to the Lord, give it in Jesus’ name and He will give you some more to give to the church and anybody dat pass by.”

I know that the people of that era were no better off financially that we are today, yet they worked to preserve their church. Few, if any, grumbled. So I asked myself, what did this quaint church sitting in my neighbour mean?

From personal experiences enhanced by the comments of others including those who’ve since passed, I’ve gathered that the districts surrounding the church drew sustenance from a village triumvirate. St. Catherine’s Primary School, provider of primary education and childhood bonding; St. Catherine’s Anglican Church, builder of the moral and spiritual fibre of its community and the St. Catherine’s Social Club, enhancer of social connections and community development.

The three were joined by more than the name they shared; green, their common colour; or the members whose names were on the registers of all three. In unison, these institutions grew a community instilling and developing leadership qualities and team-work attitudes; building a culture of neighbourliness; respect for God and all people.

All three now seem to be confronting challenges as they seek to fulfil their mandates in a postmodern world driven by digital technology. The school occasionally threatened by World Bank philosophy that promotes economic efficiency which says it is too small to make economic sense. Close it down. Build a large economies-of-scale school and bussed primary school kids off to some out-of-village site.

The social club faces competition from members and potential members’ increasingly frenetic work load and domestic lives as well as from attractions that woo people away from participation in community-based social organisations.

With regards to the church, it swims in a sea of tele-evangelists and on-line modes of worship delivering the Word to people sitting at home in their couches. It also battles in an era where the internet beams atheist arguments and new age ideologies to their congregations. Positive attitudes to church have also been cut by man’s greed. These internal and external pressures have affected the triumvirate. Today, it is either de-linking or the chain has already being broken.

If I was given the chance I would have told my friend that story of my community’s three pillars and I would’ve captivated him with my personal stories.

For like him, I’ve struggled to understand the ‘God connection’; that invisible Person whom my elders said I must worship; the unseen One who required me to mend my still wayward ways. Then I loved that stone-wall church but only as a building; a building which was my childhood refuge.

CIMG2246I sought safe harbour there often when my cousins and their boisterous friends were outside playing cricket (similar to the youngsters pictured) and bellowing “ketch ‘e! Boy, you out”; pulling up stumps and getting ready for fist fights.

I would flee to the church. Stretched out in the quiet, I would revise my school work with the wind rushing through the windows. The only interruption would come hours later when the sexton would shout: “Girl, I shutting up in hey now… don’t leave one piece of that rubber (eraser) you using in here …” No man or woman dared to violate that space which symbolised holiness.

Years later, stressed-out I would seek sanctuary in the church; listening to the silence; telling God what’s on my mind and walking away invigorated with at least a partial solution. Today, man’s misunderstanding of the sanctity of church has led to doors locked against thieves but denying my innocent entry.

Instead, I now sit on the church hill smelling the breeze; feeling God’s presence in his creations, clouds, grass anything that passes quietly by. I look down to the graveyard where the St. Catherine’s icons, heroes, preservers of our legacy lie. I wonder what legacy we this side of the grave are going to leave. Will we have the faith, the passion to keep our church strong as a building, as a congregation? Will we let down the three pillars of our community?

DSC00704

The church hill looks onto the graveyard and the St. Catherine’s Primary School.

I also think about the triumvirate that shaped my district and wonder where is today’s village glue. Perhaps coming together to repair St. Catherine’s Church may set us thinking beyond the church’s walls and right into the community. Perhaps we will learn how to give deeper; perhaps we will conclude that giving is not a one way street but that the church must give to the community; and the community is likely to return to the church.

Amen.

Poor man food rich man relish

Dark, I get up in de middle of de night to tell you bout breadfruit. This thing rest on my mind all night, I couldn’t sleep. But I must tell you ‘bout bakes, first. Yes, bakes – flour, water and sugar that you would mix up quick so and fry for tea in de morning.   Girl, if you see who eating bakes nowadays, “the upper haves” de Mr. Bowrings and dem so … today we speak bout ‘de haves and de haves-not”, so dem is upper-haves.

Hear them in ‘good company’ using de Queen’s English; lips rigid like duh stiff wid cassava starch and saying: “Ou, I had buh-akes for breakfast, so nice.” You know they don’t be talking to me. Weigh des characters against de bakes and yuh know they insulting and using bakes.

One of them is dah poor great woman from my old workplace, de one who asked me “when are you going to straighten your hair and take those awful plaits out?” I can see she now, like if it did today; she face twist up with scorn like when yuh wring cassava and de cloth burst. Remember you tell me if she ask me so again “you gine step down day fuh she’ … well retribution catch she ass and de only thing that look good pon she now is braids. She start wearing them after an American celebrity visited Barbados with braided hair … real follow pattern.

You know dem so can’t offer me bakes, I wouldn’t let one cross my mout; I does call them bourgeois bakes. Dem so remind me of the politician canvassed barefooted. He was the big joke scotching like cat walking through tar.  Real **** snobs, Dark, I nearly curse boh, but I know you would give me an elbow jab.

But de breadfruit, I aint fuget! You plant a sucker from Doris Bancroft and say when hard times come we can’t dead cause we can cook breadfruit stretch out and eat it wid lil’ lard oil or de butter milk dat Jack churn; or you can turn it in a mellow cou-cou wid flat ribs pon top wid de sauce swimming round reminding me of Culpepper Island. Well breadfruit big up too.

Last night on television, yes T.V., Pearson Bowen ‘big-up” breadfruit, talking bout breadfruit lasagne. I don’t like that Italian name for um, I want something more creative and local. I know if you were here it would get a fitting name.

You never see lasagne, it is macaroni flat out in sheets like de galvanise (zinc) we got up on de roof.   You half cook de breadfruit, stretch out – people think it look like lasagne so, not me doh- and put it in layers in a greased dish with well-seasoned fillings in between and cheese pon top and yuh bake it. Fillings can be pre-cooked chicken or some other meat … salt fish too… Dark, dat get big up too and it dear, dear now. We so can barely buy it.

Duh mekking breadfruit chips too; like how we used to want to do de English potatoes but you say “water cheaper than lard oil, so boil dem and praise wunnah Saviour, cause wunnah got something to eat. Today, I slice up some breadfruit; marinate it in a mixture of thyme (I like thyme bad … I would put it in cake), black pepper and salt and fried them. Real sweet, girl! If you did ever taste dem you would fuget dat water cheaper than lard oil.

Breadfruit gone up de ladder real high; duh even mekking wine wid it, too and no body whispering it name now. People even selling breadfruit all about but we giving them away ‘cause you always say de tree plant to stop people from starving and though I would mind seeing yuh, I don’t want yuh to haunt me.

Now I talking about food, I real sorry fuh all de things I store up in my mind on Sundays bout you when we had no meat to put on de food, not even a sheep head from muh uncle. You would cook de rice and  sit down waiting. “Jack gone up by de sea, he gine bring de flesh,” you always said with confidence.

Muh daddy would come down with fish, whelks, lobsters or crabs. You would make a licking sauce and I would sit down and eat but I hold you in my mind though de food was sweet, sweet. Cause on Sunday evenings before Sunday School when we jumping graves de other children used to talk bout drumsticks (chicken legs), lamb and pork. My mouth used to water and I would feel bad and get vex wid you … cause we had whelks, lobster, crab or sea-beef sauce or a mixture of all dem. One day I say I had whelks and de children laugh. Remember, I did come home and tell you and you say, “Praise God fuh what you get; and don’t mind dem, dis time nothing ain’t cross some of dem mouth.”

Wait, I know why I can’t sleep. I drink coffee tea, as you call it. Nowadays we only call it coffee though and I don’t strain de grounds through my teeth. I drink fancy coffee like decaf and sometimes it flavour with mocha or de peppermint that I used to drink for belly hurt.

Wait, hear dis. Remember bush tea from clammy cherry, boufolk, sercee, soursop, cure-for-all and so on …  companies from all over de world making millions off bush tea. They putting bush in tiny bags hanging on strings, packing dem in a small purtty box with an expensive price tag. See de white people, de rich people and de upper-haves at hotels sipping, girl;  TV people waxing bout bush tea virtues.

You had a good life; we eat and drink muff things de great people got on de menu, now; we think we did poor. We din poor, we did rich food wise but most of all love wise.